Encompassing different terrains in picturesque locations, many captivating flowers hail from Mexico, and some you’ll be more familiar with than others.
Some are even heavily featured in Mexican festivals, and their blooms are widely admired throughout the world.
With their diverse and adaptable traits, Mexican flowers are grown all over the world. In their native country, they’re used in local gardens, as part of ornamental landscaping, and some are found in the wild.
I’m sure you’ve probably heard of poinsettia, which is often sold at Christmas for its characteristically red or even white blooms during the season.
In 1963, the national flower of Mexico was announced, the beautiful dahlia (see also Dahlia Flower Meaning and Symbolism).
Quite a lot of the flowers native to Mexico carry some weighty symbolism, which make these blooms all the more beautiful when you know the meaning behind them.
Read on to discover some of the most popular flowers native to Mexico, the meanings associated with them, and what you can use them for and where.
Known scientifically as the Tithonia, these are one of the most popular flowers native to Mexico. Flowers come in red, yellow, and orange, depending on the variety.
Depending on the conditions in which they’re grown, they can reach 3 to 8 feet height, the former in climates with cooler summers, and the latter in temperatures more like their native conditions.
They’re also quite tough to dry, harsher conditions of poor soil and drought.
If grown in hot, dry climates, one shrub can produce more than 100 flowers, which is really impressive, especially for an annual!
It traditionally symbolizes faith and loyalty.
Plumeria (see Plumeria Flower Meaning and Symbolism) rubra, or the Mexican Frangipani, this tree produces attractive white, yellow, and even pink flowers, the center of which are usually yellow.
The tree itself can grow as tall as 26 feet in the right conditions, though it may only get as high as 5 feet tall in cooler countries. This plant won’t tolerate soggy soil, or temperatures below 50° F.
These stunning flowers are often used in spas, and they symbolize spirituality, and ghosts.
Part of the Laelia genus in the orchid family, which is one of the smaller orchid families, the rosy-tinted laelia or orchid grows happily on tree trunks, rocks, branches – or even cork if you decide to grow them yourself.
Wherever you put them, they do require around 70% humidity in order to thrive.
The Laelia orchid symbolizes love and beauty. (See also Orchid Meaning And Symbolism)
Mexican Lady’s Slipper
Another orchid which is native to Mexico, the genus it belongs to, Cypripedium, features in many countries across the world, with an array of different colors, such as purple, pink, white and green.
There is one variety which is native just to Mexico, which is Cypripedium molle, which can grow as many as 12 stems, and each can produce up to 5 light yellow flowers.
Salvia elegans, tangerine sage, or pineapple sage, grows as a perennial shrub in pine-oak forests, between 6,000 and 9,000 feet.
The leaves smell similar to a pineapple, and the plant itself can get as high as nearly 5 feet tall.
Like all sage, it carries some significance to healing.
Justicia spicigera, the firecracker bush, or Mexican honeysuckle, produces bright orange flowers which are a magnet for hummingbirds.
As with most honeysuckle, it’s valued for its distinctive fragrance, and represents joy.
As they’re grown for the huge Christmas market, these stunning plants are sold all over the world.
As many as 70 million plants are sold during the six-week holiday season, so naturally, poinsettias represent Christmas, and the Star of Bethlehem (see also Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum Plant): Types, How to Grow and Plant Care).
Mexican Hat Flower
Ratibidia columnifera, or the prairie coneflower, or the Mexican hat coneflower, is part of the daisy family.
It has a graceful appearance, reaching a maximum height of 3 feet, and the petals themselves are red, yellow, or a mixture of the two.
One of Mexico’s most famous flowers, the Mexican marigold is known for its Day of the Dead symbolism. The scientific name for this flower is Tagetes erecta.
Depending on the weather conditions and the variety, Mexican marigolds can reach 3.5 feet tall. The flowers also bear similarities to those found in Aztec art.
During the holiday, they are used to welcome home the spirits of loved ones who have died.
Despite what you may think, these flowers are used for celebration.
It’s believed that the dead would be insulted by any loved ones grieving during this holiday, as the dead rejoin their community to share in celebration.
Mexican Morning Glory
The Ipomoea tricolor, or the Mexican morning glory, like many morning glory plants, is a short-lived perennial.
The ‘Heavenly Blue’ cultivar flowers change color depending on the pH of the soil, just as hydrangeas do.
Traditionally, the Mexican morning glory signifies unrequited love, or love that’s remained a secret.
Mexican Passion Flower
This striking plant can grow up to 25 feet tall, and is part of the Passifloraceae genus.
Like all passion flowers (see also Passion Flower Symbolism), it has a beautifully odd appearance, and the best way to spot this plant in the wild is to use your nose – it smells like mothballs.
Once it has finished flowering, it produces passion fruit.
Now grown all over the world for its captivating scent, the chocolate cosmos smells as lovely as it sounds, and comes in hues of brown, purple, and burgundy.
Unfortunately, it’s not edible, like your nose would tell you.
These flowers signify beauty, and order.
A plant that’s quick to naturalize, the Mexican poppy is usually grown for its medicinal purposes, and therefore has the symbolism of sleep and peace.
Flowers come in white and yellow.
Part of the Gladiolus family, the sword lily comes in reds, pinks, and yellows, and is often part of the Day of the Dead celebrations, and has links to the joy of the celebration, as well as symbolizing those who have died.
The word gladiolus translates from Latin as “small sword”, resembling the swords that gladiators fought with in Ancient Rome.
Salvia miniata, or the Belize sage, is a stunning plant which produces reddish-orange flowers on tall flower spikes. It’s one of the few salvias which are happy to grow in pots.
Belize sage signifies protection, and healing.
The national flower of Mexico, the dahlia has many forms, but all are beautiful. Some are bi-colored, and the petals come in many numbers and different shapes according to the variety.
Many hybrids have been produced, and they’re one of the most popular plants in the world.
The Aztecs used the flowers to treat epilepsy, the tubers were a staple in their diet, and the stems were used as water pipes.
Dahlia flowers symbolize people who are resilient.
Yuccas are succulent plants which grow fruit, which are similar to bananas.
The fruit itself has many uses in medicine and cosmetics, but these plants also produce a cascade of pure white flowers above the foliage, which appear during summer.
Bird of Paradise
Known for its dramatic and stunning flowers, the bird of paradise plant can grow up to 3.5 meters tall (see also How To Grow A Bird Of Paradise).
The plant gets its name from its resemblance to the bird of paradise, which has very striking plumage.
The leaves resemble that of a banana plant, and can reach up to 200cm long.
Mexican Flowers and Celebrations
Flowers are integral to the way of life in Mexico, and have often been the cornerstone of many festivals, not just the Day of the Dead.
In Xochimilco, in Mexico City, the area is famous for its floating gardens. The name itself is a combination of two Nahuatl words, which translates to “where the flowers grow”. It’s used to grow flowers for the city,